Google Will Highlight Mobile-Friendly Sites In Search Results

As most smartphone owners know, just because you can find a Web site on your mobile device doesn’t mean you will be able to use it or access all its features when you get there. But now Google is hoping to save mobile searchers a lot of wasted time and frustration by highlighting “mobile-friendly” sites in its search results -- meaning sites that render well on smartphones and tablets. Google's Mobile Search team announced the new search feature in a blog post on Tuesday.

In order to receive the mobile-friendly badge, a Web site must satisfy four main criteria, according to the blog post: it must avoid software that is not common on mobile devices, like Flash; use text that is readable without zooming; size content to the screen so users don’t have to scroll horizontally or zoom; and place links far enough apart so that the correct one can be easily tapped (this last one is a special boon to all those of us suffering through the heartbreak of “fat finger syndrome”).

Google is planning to introduce the new mobile-friendly badge into search results over the next couple of weeks, and may even begin including the designation in its search rank signal for users searching with mobile devices. To find out if a page would be considered mobile-friendly, developers and publishers can simply enter the URL on a test page created by Google, available here. Google also updated is Webmasters Mobile Guide to include guidelines on making sites more mobile-friendly.

Google’s Mobile Search Team wrote: “We see these labels as a first step in helping mobile users to have a better mobile web experience… We hope to see many more mobile-friendly websites in the future.”

Search results for mobile already vary considerably from desktop search results, according to a recent study by Searchmetrics, which analyzed ten thousand keyword searches and found that 36% of Web destination URLs shown in the top 30 mobile search results differed from the same search conducted on a desktop or laptop. In addition, 25% came from different hosts and 23% came from different domains altogether.

"Smartphone User" photo from Shutterstock.

3 comments about "Google Will Highlight Mobile-Friendly Sites In Search Results".
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  1. Brian Klais from Pure Oxygen Labs, November 19, 2014 at 1:54 p.m.

    Great news for mobile consumers, as you note. But many mobile marketers, especially retailers with mdot pages, have work to do to earn the mobile-friendly badge on their deeper listings. Google's new tool offers a great start. Other free tools including Mobile Page Analyzer (full disclosure, my company's tool) offer more details on how Google and Bing view page elements from a mobile SEO standpoint, so mobile marketers know what to fix.

  2. mike boland from BIA/Kelsey, November 20, 2014 at 11:45 p.m.

    Google has been doing this for a while. They didn't always have the user facing badge for mobile friendly sites (that's new). But mobile optimized sites were already part of it's ranking factors for mobile SEO. The ongoing theme is that optimized sites are rewarded. The SEO impact was the stick approach... the new badges are more of a carrot.

  3. Trung Ho from ASU, November 21, 2014 at 1:03 a.m.

    Mobile-friendly site has the potential to increase traffic and conversions because it significantly improve user experience and satisfaction. First, it is specifically designed for mobile standards and optimal download speed, which means less waiting and more browsing. Second, mobile-friendly site allows you to immediately engage users with mobile-specific features such as click-to-call, mapping functions. It helps you stand out and presents a positive, contemporary brand identity for your business. Third, a mobile- friendly site puts your business in a position to stand out among competitors - if our website does not look good on a smartphone, users will be likely to move on to one that does. Moreover, at this time, mobile advertising is growing at a rapid pace and introducing many new opportunities for reaching target audiences. If our organization can advertise on Google AdWords, there is a good chance your ads to appear in mobile listings. Mobile-friendly site is becoming a mainstream reality that will impact any organization that wants to communicate effectively with target audiences online. Mobile phones are expected to overtake PCs as the most common Web access device worldwide. Today, mobile advertising still keeps growing quickly and businesses have made huge profits with this platform. Mobile ads have the ability to hit the right target audience at their point of need, which makes it more effective and popular as a marketing strategy. There is an increase in the usage of mobile devices every year. Businesses should take advantage of the potential of this tool to increase business opportunities and improve performance.

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